Links 10/7/17

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The Plight of the West’s Wolves Wall Street Journal

Butterfly swarm shows up on Denver radar system BBC (Chuck L, David L)

Dirt, Climate Hero? Forbes (Oregoncharles)

How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds Wall Street Journal via Flipboard (David L)

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia Guardian (Chuck L). If you can only read one of the two “hijacking” articles, this is the one.

Kyle Bass Says ICO Investors Will Get Wiped Out in Crypto ‘Mania’ Bloomberg (David L)

“Evidence-Based Medicine”: Corporate Medicine’s Corrupted Instrument Medium (furzy). This is not straightforward, since the incentives for doctors are to overtest and overtreat.

Do this couple have the cure for Alzheimer’s disease? The Times. Not sure I buy this. Given that historical accounts of aging (in histories and literature) do not have the particularly personality-erosion of Alzheimers, I’ve long suspected it is triggered, and probably caused, by environmental factors. It also discusses “clogged arteries” in ways that conflict with better thinking re the role of cholesterol (as in it’s a backup repair system for arterial damage; if it was “artery gunk,” you’d see more cholesterol plaque in small arteries and veins first, and only later in the big ones around the heart). The new fad thinking re meat is that saturated fat is OK if it’s from grass fed critters. Not sure I buy that either. These paleo types don’t have real evidence backing their claims, plus animals in the wild are for the most part extremely lean, as any hunter will attest, and not at all comparable to farm raised ones. And the plural of anecdote is not data…but my mother eats lots of stuff these folks think is bad and not much they think is good, yet she’s turning 90 and is sharp as a tack. Readers?

Over half of new cancer drugs ‘show no benefits’ for survival or wellbeing Guardian (Chuck L)

Universities in India Are Criminalizing Student Protests Alternet

Yingluck considers asylum applications for UK, Germany and France The Nation – Thailand (furzy)

French Parliament Advances a Sweeping Counterterrorism Bill New York Times (Sid S)


Corbyn is beginning to be taken seriously’EU steps up Brexit talks with Labour over fears May’s government will fall Telegraph

Brexit Bridge Must Be Set by Christmas, Bank of England Official Says Bloomberg

May fights to get a grip on her party The Times. This could be a default headline since her botched snap election.


Catalonia referendum: Call for pro-unity rallies in Spain BBC. The only rallies that matter are the once in Barcelona.

Spain Teaches Catalonia a Lesson about the Power of Money Don Quijones

From a newsletter linking to a BBC radio program:

Raül Romeva, Catalonia’s foreign minister, on Friday announced that the Catalan parliament will attempt to meet on Monday — although he didn’t say where — in defiance of the Spanish Constitutional Court’s order to suspend a parliamentary session at which lawmakers were expected to vote on a declaration of independence from Spain.

What about no prime minister, suggests Britain Daily Mash

New Cold War

The Russians Are Coming, Again Monthly Review (Sid S)

Jubeir: Russia-Saudi ties have reached historic moment Middle East Online (resilc)


How Tillerson Is Trying to Save the Iran Deal From His Boss New York Magazine (resilc)

U.N. blacklists Saudi-led coalition for killing children in Yemen Reuters (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records BuzzFeed

The Ever More Orwellian Definition of Terrorism Counterpunch

How to stop Google tracking your every move Thai Tech (furzy). This works only if you are not an official Person of Interest.

Trade Traitors

Fearing trade war, US Inc. pleads with both Trump and China Asia Times

US orders new tariffs on Bombardier jets Financial Times. Putting link here, but as UK based, readers know well, this has big implications for Brexit

Trump Transition

5 things Trump did this week while you weren’t looking Politico

Trump Loves the Middle Class. Up to a Point Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Roosevelt wouldn’t stand for privatizing a public resource, and neither will we The Hill

Janet Yellen rebukes Trump over plan to lift financial regulations Guardian

Facebook ‘Embeds’ Advised Trump’s Campaign, Digital Director Says Bloomberg. I gather this is seen as controversial but I am at a loss to understand why.


Democrats accuse Trump of ‘sabotage’ on Obamacare sign-ups Politico

Republicans Propose Slashing Medicaid to Pay for Tax Cuts Vanity Fair (resilc)

Trump rolls back access to free birth control BBC

California Sues To Stop Trump Administration Rollback Of Insurance Birth Control Requirement Consumerist. That was fast.

Back on the trail, Biden’s message rankles the left Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Anti-Capitalist. Now He’s a Voice Against Militarism, Too. Foreign Policy in Focus (resilc). As if that’s a bad thing.

Outdated and Unreliable: FEMA’s Faulty Flood Maps Put Homeowners at Risk Bloomberg. Duh.

AP-NORC Poll: Just 24 percent say US heading right direction Associated Press (furzy)

Three charged with plotting NY attacks for Islamic State: U.S. prosecutors Reuters (furzy)

NAACP Pushes for Transparency on 2020 Census Courthouse News (Allan)

Guns and votes: The victory of an intense minority against an apathetic majority VoxEU

Don’t Be Fooled: The NRA Doesn’t Want to Ban ‘Bump Stocks’ Nation (furzy)

Hudson Yards Wants to Be New York’s New Money Hub Bloomberg (furzy). FWIW, Steve Ross was my client 30 years ago.

Jobs Down 33K, Employment Up 906K, Full-Time Employment Down 65,000 Micheal Shedlock

Bill Gross And Breitbart Want Kashkari For Fed DealBreaker

Is the “globalisation –> disinflation” thesis bunk? FT Alphaville

Class Warfare

Are those my words coming out of Steve Bannon’s mouth? Thomas Frank, Guardian (Jess)

Americans Are Pouring Back Into the Workforce, Jobs Data Show Bloomberg (UserFriendly). Notice the schizophrenic claims further down in the article.

State and Federal Leaders Tackle Student Debt National Conference of State Legislatures. UserFriendly: “God, neofeudalism is here.”

Married Americans Are More Unhappy Than Ever Bloomberg

When Working From Home Doesn’t Work The Atlantic

Antidote du jour. Taken by reader Michael M in Golden State Park in San Francisco:

And a bonus video, from Ed R: a real life tortoise and hare race:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.


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  1. UserFriendly

    Email I sent to the author of the Student loan piece:

    Income Share Agreements, really? So is that closer to neofeudalism or sharecropping? This really is the worst country in the world. Especially since college grants pay for themselves.

    Grads pay more in taxes, use less food stamps and medicaid, are less likely to get arrested ect. But this country just hates it’s youth so much that they want to make them indentured slaves or saddle them with debt to the point where they don’t get married and have kids because they can’t afford to. All because this is such an oligarchy that we couldn’t possibly raise taxes on rich people.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      KUDOS to you! I read that article and thought “Oh, my GOD”. Owing debt just isn’t enough, now they want a percentage of a person’s future earnings?

      One of my sons got seriously ill, so I took over paying his student loans (who knew at age 69 I would be paying student loans?). I didn’t want him to default, because that would have made his life so much harder when he does get back on his feet, but GAWD – he took out student loans on a “variable” rate, which makes paying them back SO much harder! I can’t even imagine the amount of money those loan holders are making off of him…..and that just isn’t enough?

      1. George Phillies

        Astute readers will have noted that when a Federally-guarantees student loan defaults — which I have heard has actually happened — there is a charge covered in some sense by the taxpayers. (Yes, I did notice you article on the relationship between taxes and government.) This scheme identifies the taxpayer. However, the percentage rates I have heard proposed appeared to be rather low relative to college tuition, though at a top line school you may suppose ‘yes,it is 3%, but one of those three-percenters is Bill Gates.’

        1. justanotherprogressive

          Did you miss this?

          “Income Share Agreements (ISAs), which is a “new form of private financial aid that offers students money upfront to pay for college in return for a percentage of students’ future earnings,” according to American Institutes for Research.”

          The state won’t get the money, the “private financial aid” company will……

          Then there are a couple of problems:
          Ignoring the very substantial moral questions:
          1. Will the rate stay at 3% for long? This appears to be a very lucrative way for loan companies to make money…….
          2. Will the private loan companies tell students which degrees they can pursue (so as to make as much money on that percentage as they can)? Will there be different percentages for different types of careers? Colleges are already abandoning their role as “educators” in favor of ” corporation job trainers”, as though the only thing important any more is……money……what will this do to higher education?

        2. JCC

          This one kinda got to me so (following up on UserFriendly’s comment) I went to the Contact Us page at American Institutes for Research and sent them the following:

          I view ISAs as either sharecropping or feudalism, which definition do you prefer I use?



    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People borrow goodwill all the time.

      When banks and others borrow lots of goodwill to pay for, among other things, storage of the 99%ers’ pitchforks, and then default on such goodwill loans, one possible remedy is, but of course, wealth sharing.

      If no one remembered that before, this income sharing idea should remind us of it.

      “You are living on borrowed goodwill, which was not given to you, but lent.”

    3. georgieboy

      Income Share Agreements had their 20th century moment at Yale in the 1970s. Jim Tobin thought it up as a way to spread the debt load amongst classmates, so the alums who went to wall street or med school could help pay the debt of the bums who went into academia (just kidding).

      It failed miserably, as once the alums with some scratch (and limited integrity) figured it out they started declaring bankruptcy a decade later, to get free of the ISA burden. The result was that the honest schmoos saw their payment obligations extend and extend to cover the unpaid debt of those who did not pay, either because they had no earnings or claimed to be bankrupt.

      Eventually the alums who remained in the debt pool banded together and forced the school to eat some of the debt outstanding.

      Tobin was a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, and an earnest and well-meaning Democrat of the pre-Clinton variety. His command of economic models did not guarantee an understanding of human nature.

    4. jackiebass

      What you say is true but it also applies to all but the wealthy in our society. The goal of neoliberal economics is to enslave the population so they can be better controlled. It’s right out of Orwell’s 1984.

  2. Wukchumni

    Goooooood Moooorning Fiatnam!

    Operation Rolling Blunder was an attempt to bond the Fiatnamese back into the 18th century when the only Law was John’s, ink jets would take off on a run and occasionally we’d lose one, when we ran out of cartridges and/or toner..

    1. Edward E

      You just crack me up, how in the world do you come up with all this shyt? 5 Hour™ Energy Silly Shots or something?

  3. ChuckO

    Regarding the article on Alzheimer’s, back before the discovery of bacteria, any disease which caused elevated temperature was called a fever, the implication being that they were the same or similar diseases. Given the plethora of articles proposing this or that as the cause of Alzheimer’s, I find myself wondering if that there aren’t a number of different conditions that cause the formation of plaque in the brain, resulting in dementia.

    1. timotheus

      I’m more inclined to believe the Alzheimer’s-lack of sleep link given the steady drop in the number of hours we dedicate to that activity. And we know deep sleep is involved in the brain’s repair-detritus removal system.

      1. Steve H.

        timotheus, true this. Add in ready late-night snacks, and the body doesn’t go into a fasted state, which limits macroautophagy and the breakdown of cellular detritus.

        Good sleep, good food, some exercise. My work in a neurotoxicology lab led me to try to pursue health as a broadscale mechanism. Take the huge amount of known factors, multiply by unknown factors (see hormone mimickers), to the power of synergistic effects between them…

        : I’ve long suspected it is triggered, and probably caused, by environmental factors.

        This brings in epigenetics, how your genes express given environmental factors. Vitamin D availability impacts around 2000 genes. The notion that our DNA is a statistical split between our parents is wrong, we’re mostly our Mom. All our mitochondrial DNA comes from her, and at least in early life all our gut bacteria. Some of that bacteria impacts serotonin production, and our brains respond plastically to neurotransmitter availability.

        For a wayback, this was the first inkling I got of the symbiotic relationship of gut bacteria to health (from 2003:

        Gut Check: The bacteria in your intestines are welcome guests

        1. Croatoan

          People usually only associate serotonin only with mood and the brain, but immune cells are also activated by serotonin through serotonylation.

          Also, SSRI’s are proven to effect glycemic regulation.

    2. DorothyT

      Re: “clogged arteries” mentioned in Yves’ comment to this article: “Do this couple have the cure for Alzheimer’s disease?” The Times

      Read discussion of arterial plaque and calcium supplements (not through a calcium rich diet, which is beneficial).

      There is a calcium risk scan available.

      A discussion of cholesterol and its importance to our bodies is available in thousands of sites. This topic is on point in the “Evidence based medicine” article also listed in the NC links. It was mentioned on NC some time ago that it’s difficult not to gain weight on a calcium rich diet. Not true: calcium is also available apart from dairy, too.

      1. oh

        Doctors and pharma don’t like vitamin and mineral supplements because the medical-pharma-hospital complex doesn’t make money on them. This appears to be one more attempt by doctors to blame supplements.

        Most of their studies are useless because they’re trying pinpoint one cause for ailments of the human body which is quite complex.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        All that study found was correlation, not causation. Plus they did not parse out what type of calcium people took. The most common dietary supplement is calcium citrate, which is basically ground up sea shells. The one that most closely replicated dietary calcium is calcium lactate. That’s relatively pricey and not many people take it.

    3. Croatoan

      What I have completely understood is that there are many factors to disease, and it is a complex interaction between genetics, nutrition, and environment, and the way the majority of reseach is done will never lead to cures for these diseases.

      Just take the genetics for example and lets ass-ume that cholesterol is the issue. There are 10’s of genes that can effect cholesterol levels, some of those genes (enzymes) are controlled by vitamin cofactors, which again have their metabolism controlled by other genes. So variants in any of those genes will change how cholesterol is metabolized. So one person Alzheimers can be caused by one set of genes, and another, a whole different set. Yet the results will be the same.

      This si what is called Nutritional Genomics, and until they understand it more completely there is no hope for curing any disease. For more on this watch this 30 minute video by a (real) researcher:

      1. Procopius

        … never lead to cures …

        Bear in mind that for big pharma, the shining goal is something which mitigates symptoms temporarily, not removal of the cause of suffering.

    4. ook

      Certainly diet, sleep and stress have something to do with it, but one of the sharpest people I know is in his early 90s, and he doesn’t sleep enough, doesn’t pay much attention to what he eats, and he drinks regularly.

      However, this person is making a name for himself selling abstract art containing traditional cultural elements, this being a form he knew nothing about before he retired from the civil service, age 65. And he converted to Catholicism age 75 (having grown up Buddhist).
      Most people settle on how they view the world by the time they finish college, and never change after that. I can’t help but think that this kind of constant challenge and transformation in life will make more of a difference than giving up red meat.

    5. nostromo

      There is an increasing amount of evidence that Alzheimer is just Type III diabetes. The idea is that lack of exercise and excess of sugar/alcohol are the roots of it, together with other forms of insulin resistance.

      1. Croatoan

        But not everyone who eats excess sugar gets Alzheimer’s. Hence, it is genetics as well that increase the risk.

        It is nature AND nurture, not nature OR nurture.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Again, only a two data points, but my mother, the original couch potato (although she overdoes fats more than sweets) is the original couch potato. On my father’s side of the family, his Olympic medalist great uncle, who was arguably the best athlete the state of Maine every produced (will spare you the factoids as to why) did hard physical work well into his 80s, hauling lobster traps without a winch for half a day pretty much every day the weather allowed. At the age of 88, he looked and moved like a guy in his 50s who had been out in too much sun and wind.

        He died of Alzheimers. So I agree that this can’t just be environment, but I believe there are environmental triggers.

    6. Whoa Molly

      Re: Alzheimers cures
      A researcher at MIT used visual stimulation to reduce amaloyd plaque in brains of mice. At first glance her research seems completely off the wall, but her team found that flickering LEDs at certain frequency and wavelength caused distinct reduction in plaque. The conclusion I draw from this is that many of the current paths to “cure” might be, as the saying goes, simple, elegant and wrong.

      1. Whoa Molly

        Re: The Alzheimers Cure
        I am reading the book now and recommend it highly. The authors have assembled a lifestyle plan that is scientifically proven to reduce chances of getting Alzheimers, and delay progression by a decade in those who have it.
        I have been researching cognitive decline for two years, since losing three friends to Alzheimers.
        I suspected lifestyle was the critical “cure” since reading the results of longitudinal studies on lifestyle and dementia. This is the first book I have seen that pulls everything together.
        The particulars of diet are still “open” in my mind, but meanwhile this program appears to be the closest thing I have seen to a workable “cure”.
        (PS: I suspect that the word “Cure” is a good way to sell books. Prevention and delay might be more accurate. The book is better than the title.)

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Sounds like the “prescription” is very similar to that Dean Ornish proposes. If the book is anything like Ornish’s book, the actual meat of the text occupies maybe 5 pages, with 300+ pages of fluff and recipes and stories.

  4. Wukchumni

    ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia Guardian (Chuck L). If you can only read one of the two “hijacking” articles, this is the one.

    Er, wouldn’t that be a iJacking?

    1. George Phillies

      Thank you for reminding us, several times, that the ‘mobile device’ is the stupidest invention since the pet rock.

      1. jackiebass

        People have become addicted to them thinking they can’t live without their mobile device.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The hijacking will be made more powerful, more intense, more thorough, longer lasting, so that our minds can’t perceive the hijacking.

      That’d be progress!

      (Probably with the next model)

  5. Bunk McNulty

    Better link for “Americans Are Pouring Back Into The Workforce”:

    Schizophrenic, indeed:

    “On one hand, the fact that people are finding work immediately suggests labor market tightness: Employers are clearly snapping up staff. On the other, it shows untapped slack in the job market. As long as there are people willing to flow into jobs, employers won’t have to bid up wages as much. Because labor force participation among working-age Americans has fallen off sharply, that pool of potential workers is potentially large.

    The key question is how much of America’s non-working population might come back, and only time will tell.”

  6. Basil Pesto

    I emailed this but it might have been to too late for today’s links or not of interest but I think some readers might find it interesting. What happens to your Steam account when you die?

    it’s chiefly about a digital software/videogame marketplace but it has implications for all customers of online retailers of digital goods – sold under license – as well (eg iTunes).

    1. BDBlue

      I’m not surprised by any of the info, but it was good to have it confirmed. One more reason to buy games by disc when you can and buy CDs (or records if vinyl is your thing). Of course, more and more, games are only being offered as downloads. And YouTube is killing even the download market and pay-to-stream market in music.

      1. Plenue

        Many modern games eventually get released on GOG (, which distributes them as simple .exe files. This is actually better than a physical disc, because the disc will eventually rot away, whereas the executable is theoretically immortal, as long as you periodically transfer it to a newer storage medium.

        1. drexciya

          Agreed on; they also allow you to install a game on multiple systems. When it comes to music downloads, there are some equivalents of as well.

          As to the later comment on difficulty of playing old games; includes tools to run old games on newer platforms.

        2. bronco

          The only good games are already on GOG . I find myself playing games from the early 90’s most. Whether its nostalgia or the thought that t the new games are just prettier copies of old games so why bother .

          I have a desktop that came out in 2006 with windows 7 on it that works fine for me. There hasn’t been anything new in computers since then that I need , and that includes games .

      2. Procopius

        I reverted from Windows 10 after 10 minutes, but I have heard that you cannot run at least some DVD versions of games, only the Steam version, on it. The specific game I have in mind is Total War: Medieval, although I think it also applies to Total War: Rome. I just hated the icons, but I’ve since heard that the amount of data they insist on uploading and inability to opt out make it unacceptable. I’m going to stick with Windows 7 until it drops and than switch to Linux, probably Ubuntu.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      I am not worried about games, in 20 years there are going to be many factors that prevent you from playing the game in the first place. Old games are difficult to play unless someone does the labor to make it playable (See good old games for example), or even better for multiplayer there is little to no chance that a server will be up to play it. In fact if you are downloading a game I would suggest a DRM free site like if you can, or I usually just buy from humble bundle so I know a percentage is going to charity.

      I totally agree with you on other media.. buy hard copies if you ever want to keep it. Or burn everything to CD/back it up.

      1. The Rev Kev

        With games I think that it will be impossible to play them in 20 years time or even less. An article at means, if I read it right, that the newer chips going into PCs will be unable to install anything earlier than Windows 10. That means of course Windows XP, Windows 7, etc. so how can the games be set up if the operating systems that they worked under will not be able to be installed. Microsoft Windows 10 for eternity? Talk about a fate worse than death.

        1. Kurtismayfield

          That is awful.. it seems AMD is following suit also. There are workarounds online, but the average Joe is not going to do that. This smells of anti trust worthy behaviorbif both of the PC chip manufacturers are doing it..

          Lokks like I need to go Linux if I ever upgrade my PC.

        2. Plenue

          Nah, it just means Microsoft aren’t putting in time and effort into optimizing older OS’s for newer hardware. 7 and 8 aren’t substantially different under the hood from 10 anyway. You’ll only really run into problems if you try to install something like Windows 98 on a modern computer, but there’s no reason to ever do that. And if for some reason you did need or want to, there’s always virtual machines, which enable you to run anything all the way back to 3.0 from within a modern OS.

          1. Basil Pesto

            Just further to this, I saw an article the other day saying that Windows is on the way out because smartphones etc. Yet it completely failed to take into account the PC game industry. That’s a big, big market (and I don’t think it’s shrinking, despite gloomy predictions that it would following the growth of the console market) and it’s pretty much dependent on Windows.

      2. Fraibert

        Generally speaking, I agree with the buy hard media approach. But software companies now have a new trick–forced usage of Steam or other similar services.

        For example, I bought a hard copy of the game XCOM 2 a while back. While there was media in the box, you were required to register the license key on Steam and play the game through Steam. In effect, the hard copy was no different than a Steam copy except that I have a DVD with the unpatched game on it, which could be used to save some download time.

        Thinking back, this trick isn’t so new. Valve, the creators of Steam, did the same thing with Half-Life 2 back in 2005. The hard copy was really just a Steam version shipped on discs.

        1. Basil Pesto

          I wonder what Valve’s take is there. Do they get paid for use of the platform by Firaxis? On the other hand, Steam Workshop is a big part of the game and its community so you can understand why they go with it. For many developers it seems to have obvious benefits. But then, no real competition.

          Obvious issues surround Valve’s near-monopoly aside, I’ve got a mini-museum of CD-ROMs from the 90s/early 00s next to me. Can’t quite honestly say I miss those days.

          1. Plenue

            Even if Valve only gets 5% of every sale, with tens of thousands of games they’re raking in the dough. They certainly have enough cash to apparently just pay their employees to come in and do whatever, and not concentrate on actually making games.

            1. Basil Pesto

              Oh, no doubt. It’s hard to know what was a bigger coup – HL2 as a game or Steam as a business platform. As far as I can tell it’s basically been a license to print money.

              What I meant though is, I know Valve gets a cut for every sale on Steam, but how does it work for boxed copies from a different retailer that have to be installed via a steam account? A smaller cut? A nominal fee from the developer for this linking service? I dunno

              1. Aumua

                I heard that somebody said there might be a rumor that HL3 could be in development and coming out at some future unspecified time.

  7. The Rev Kev

    Re: The Plight of the West’s Wolves
    Personally I have had a great liking for wolves going back to when I was a teenager. Of course being at least 12,000 kilometers from the nearest wolf pack means I never got a chance to see them in the wild. Nonetheless I do visit the subject of these magnificent animals from time to time. I have noticed something I have always found inexplicable and that was the apparent hatred that American conservatives seem to have for wolves. I do not know if readers in North America will agree with that observation.
    Time and again I have seen laws passed to make it easier to kill wolves and to restrict their numbers almost as if it was personal and typically this was by Republican governments. You even see this hatred reflected in popular culture. A few years ago Liam Neeson was in a film called “The Grey” where he and others were being hunted by evil, vicious wolves. There are articles that mention this phenomena such as at but I cannot account for this animosity but I do think that it is real.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Liam Neeson, not a friend of animals. He’s a celebrity supporter of the cruel NYC carriage horse industry.
      Our feckless mayor De Blasio appealed to humane voters by promising to retire the horses ‘on day one of his administration’ — and the horses are still out there collapsing in traffic and suffering in cramped stalls.

      Boo on both of them.

      1. Wukchumni

        We must have 300 horses in town here, and you almost never see them being ridden, and owning one will cost you a small fortune compared to a cat or dog, and a local rancher’s wife asked if i’d be interested in one on the cheap, as in free?

        I told her thanks, but not for me…

        And then she tried to seal the deal by saying “they make for good eating”.

    2. Plenue

      The Grey was immensely frustrating, because the threat of the wolves revolved entirely around all the dumb old cliches about wolves (alpha males and all that). The things that are objectively not true about wild wolves, and were only once believed because scientists were basing their findings on observation of ad hoc packs in captivity made up of unrelated wolves artificially thrown together.

      And perpetuating these stupid tropes actually has negative effects beyond our interactions with the animal kingdom because it’s precisely these misconceptions that the idiot redpill/PUA/MRA crowd base their alpha male blather on.

  8. Wukchumni

    “Lloyd of the Flies”

    A plane full of Unabankers plunges in the ocean not too far away from a deserted island, and most survive the crash thanks to government intervention. They get into an argument over who gets to be named Piggy, and seeing as it’s an apt name for all of them, they decide to all take that moniker. Jamie is in charge of coconut derivatives, and all goes well until they die of hunger, because there actually weren’t any coconut trees on the island.

  9. allan

    The FBI’s New U.S. Terrorist Threat: ‘Black Identity Extremists’ [Foreign Policy]

    As white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, the FBI warned about a new movement that was violent, growing, and racially motivated. Only it wasn’t white supremacists; it was “black identity extremists.”

    Amid a rancorous debate over whether the Trump administration has downplayed the threat posed by white supremacist groups, the FBI’s counterterrorism division has declared that black identity extremists pose a growing threat of premeditated violence against law enforcement. …

    A former senior counterterrorism and intelligence official from the Department of Homeland Security who reviewed the document at FP’s request expressed shock at the language.

    “This is a new umbrella designation that has no basis,” the former official said. “There are civil rights and privacy issues all over this.” …

    BIE, and the animal liberationists, are clearly the biggest threats to domestic tranquility. /s

    Like a drunk looking for his keys under the light pole …

    File under Taxonomy Warfare.

    1. Wukchumni

      “Along with financing for local entrepreneurs and affordable housing, Wesson also argues that such a bank will allow the marijuana dispensary operators a place to access banking services. Due to the current discrepancy between federal and state laws on marijuana, many banks are wary to provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses.

      “We cannot bury our heads in the sand on the issue of recreational and medical cannabis legalization. Instead we must strive to reasonably regulate the emerging industry while creating opportunities for Angelenos,” Wesson said back in July.

      Cannabis, which has been legal for medical purposes for more than two decades in California, will become legal for recreational use in 2018. Legalized cannabis could bring the city up to $100 million in new tax revenues per year, and the City Council is currently working on multiple motions and ordinances to create a legalized industry in the city that can be taxed and regulated.”

      We were in Colorado and popped into an Rx dispensary there and a friend made a $32.00 purchase, and with state taxes, county taxes and city taxes, the total came to $37.59.

      There’s a lot of posturing by unusual locales to get in on the action when the most valuable plant becomes legal next year.

      It makes for some oddfellows, for instance Corcoran is where a huge prison is, and more than likely a number of convicts are in the big house on account of 420, and now they’re considering growing it there.

  10. Moocao

    On evidence based medicine:

    There is a story in cardiology of NOT using evidenced based medicine in the medieval medical ages of 1980s. Patients used to be started on lidocaine for prophylactic acute myocardial infarction, which theoretically pharmacologically may decrease cardiac conduction and perhaps decrease cardiac oxygen demand.

    Evidence based medicine then came in: Turns out lidocaine induces myocardial infarction. Of course this practice is no longer favored. Evidence based medicine utilizes data extraction on specific patient populations to better optimize outcomes. Of course, sometimes these outcomes may not apply to specific individuals. The problem does not arise from evidence based medicine in general, but using guidelines to force practice patterns in a generalized fashion.

    I do not entirely disagree with th article written, but on specific points I do have to make some objections

  11. Wukchumni

    The idea that a trained baboon could work for the mouse clique, banging away on a keyboard creating money, gives me cold comfort that the Fed has been doing the right thing all along.

        1. makedoanmend

          Kudos on the photo – simply beautiful (so not easy to capture, from my experiences)

          Plus the creature’s colouring is quite nice with shades of variation on one colour with a few orange highlights.

          Couldn’t help noticing, though, that the eye looks like a smiling teddy bear.

  12. ebr

    On Neel Kashkari in the Federal Reserve; I will never forget how the Washington Post ran their story about how Neel Kashkari was quitting Washington DC & going back to nature & building his cabin in the North California woods, published December 6

    On December 7 PIMCO announced that Kashari was joining the firm

    I wrote the Washington Post ombudsman, explaining that hey, I am all about critical revaluation, but if they wrote a puff piece about Kashkari quitting government literally one day before he joined PIMCO, the Post was either incompetent or complicit. The ombudsman actually wrote me back that he was looking into it, but never printed a story

    Call this little anecdote a great reason to support independent blogs like Naked Capitalism !

  13. RN

    “Do this couple have the cure for Alzheimer’s disease? ”

    I am NOT sceptical at all.

    The recommended course of action is pretty much standard treatment for auto-immune diseases / inflammation due to oxidative stress, which is responsible for most of the age related illnesses such as, diabetes, arthritis, blood pressure, thyroid malfunctioning, parkinson’s, alzheimer’s etc etc.

    I would add turmeric/ginger, spinach and flax seed meal to the list of things to include in the diet and some minimal amount of aerobic exercises.

    If you follow these diet recommendations everyday for at least about 6 months or so, you will find reduced inflammation in your body (irrespective of what your specific illness is) and general improvement in your health.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I accidentally added WAY too much turmeric to an eggplant curry (about 5 tbsp for 4 servings) and felt very odd the next day. Stimulated but sort of blasé about everything. I wonder if it’s got psychopharmacological effects or if it was something else.

      1. oh

        It’s probably not the turmeric; I’ve used turmeric for a long time and many time with higher amounts without any side effects.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I have to tell you but most so-called auto immune diseases are probably no such thing. My father has a rare one and I did a lot of research.

      The research track before WWII was to try to isolate a pathogen. That was abandoned after WWII when the first drugs came out that suppressed the symptoms of these ailments.

      If you look back at the history, these ailments were rebranded as “autoimmune diseases” with NO evidentiary basis whatsoever.

      One doctor, a board certified rheumatologist who had also been on the national boards, looked back into the old research and started carrying it forward. His theory was that the pathogen is mycoplasma, which is somewhere between a bacteria and a virus. Clinical labs are able to test only for three relatively obscure pulmonary mycoplasma that HIV positive patients can get.

      Only a very few labs can test for the full spectrum of mycoplasma.

      He developed a protocol to treat the so-called autoimmune diseases using tetracycline, a old, off patent, and generally extremely well tolerated antibiotic. You have to do high doses periodically. Patients are generally no better in the first six months due to a Herxheimers reaction (pathogen dieoff) but the great majority are symptom free in two years.

      Needless to say, there’s no money to prove out his theory because no one will fund research for an old, off patent drug, particularly one that competes with more costly treatments, and one with such a long treatment period (normal clinical trials only last eight weeks).

      My father, with great difficulty (you have no idea how hard it is to get a blood sample across state lines) got his blood to a lab that could test for mycoplasma. The result? As the doctor said, “Your blood is swimming in it.”

  14. Wukchumni

    I heard the invisible hand had a tryst with imaginary numbers, but then they stopped seeing each other.

  15. Terry Flynn

    re: evidence-based medicine.

    The article makes various points so I’ll try not to over-simplify. But one key point that underlies much of the criticism is that EBM is all about the “average treatment effect”. We all know how averages can conceal much – and when in some specialties (mental health perhaps being the archetypal example) there are distinct segments of patients who respond very differently, the average becomes meaningless. Now, of course, there are academics who try to report different treatment effects in different patient subpopulations, but since trials screen out so many “real people” (those who have other conditions etc), even this leads to suspect results.

    The UK NHS has a consultation document out on “defunding” a bunch of drugs. Now some of these proposed decisions are eminently sensible (no more homeopathy), there are two anti-depressants on the list that show “insufficient evidence of benefit over other cheaper alternatives”. Now the health economist in me says “OK” whilst the real patient in me says “hold on a minute” – psychiatry is riddled with a lack of EBM due (a lot but not just) to the heterogeneity in patients. Psychiatrists freely admit a lot of finding the right drug is hit and miss and certain drugs that wouldn’t be regarded as “good at the system level” work with certain types of patients, and it can be difficult to identify these types a priori.

    So whilst EBM is good in various areas of medicine, there is a real danger, which is actually at this very moment in action in the NHS, that certain drugs that “just work” for certain patients are going to no longer be funded, condemning patients to more “guinea pig” treatment as an alternative is sought.

    And don’t get me started on Pregabalin – which I alerted NC readers to before the MSM – a drug which is a life saver in one group of patients, whilst is an evil drug in another, with no apparent way to know a priori which group a given patient is likely to be in. Positive average treatment effect? Yes, big. Good drug? Huge MAYBE.

  16. Linda

    Butterfly swarm shows up on Denver radar system

    I have been witnessing this butterfly migration. Two dozen or more at a time in my flower bed a few miles west of Denver for a week, maybe more now. Very unusual in my front yard.

    1. Edward E

      A couple of times I was caught up in swarms of Miller Moths while in Limon, CO something like this. Only they completely coated my truck and especially underneath the trailer. I carried moths all the way up into Washington and Oregon, down into California. Nearly every bump dislodging moths along the way. There were moths forever in tiny hard to get to places like air conditioning ducts.

    2. DJG

      The article is lovely: We have had various levels of swarming of painted ladies in the Midwest over the past few years–some kind of cycle. I recall a linden tree in flower outside my building almost covered with them. What color. And they way they dance in the air. All of their activity mixed with the wonderful fragrance of linden blossoms.

      I was surprised when the article said that some people mistake painted ladies for monarchs. Monarchs are larger and swoop more. Painted ladies are small, highly active, flutter, and have several colors on the wings besides that shocking monarch orange, and they are rather curious. I have had painted ladies land on me–something a monarch would never do.

      1. Wukchumni

        From January to February, about a gajillion ladybugs hang out on the appropriately named Ladybug Camp, on the Ladybug Trail, in Sequoia NP.

        They are so thick on the ground, many times we’ve had to turn around a few miles in on a hike, as we’d kill 50 with every step forward.

    3. meeps

      >Denver’s butterfly swarm

      It’s been delightful to witness these butterflies amass and linger as they have for weeks now. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’d hoped the wildflowers I’d planted this season would draw butterflies but it became obvious weeks ago that their proliferation ranged far beyond my tiny garden.

      A heavy snow storm is forecast for Monday. As much as I’m enjoying the butterfly bounty, their foray may be frustrated if they don’t move on.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      There is no way he has the capacity to build it, I think the largest island they have build battery capacity for had a population of 68k.

      We are also talking huge costs.. those batteries don’t come cheap:

      Elon Musk has publicly stated that Tesla grid battery systems currently cost $250 per kilowatt-hour for systems of more than 100 megawatt-hours.

      Plus Puerto Rico already has a power system.. it’s distribution system is the one in shambles.

    2. oh

      Elon needs to rename his company under an umbrella holding company name “(government) Handout”.

  17. John Wright

    Re: “‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia”

    I wonder if some of these articles are written by MSM media (newspapers/broadcast) people who are seeing their power to influence people being diminished greatly (with corresponding revenue shrinkage).

    Perhaps the Russia-gate story was cooked up because the Democrats and their media partners had assured their donors that “It is her turn, she will do what you want” and then could not deliver despite the 1 billion spend.

    All this sudden concern about subverting “democracy” via Russian influence may be the gasping cries of the formerly powerful MSM/Hollywood that they were unable to subvert democracy THEIR way.

    The late Alex Carey wrote a book “Taking the Risk out of Democracy” in which he posited that the rich/elite/powerful don’t fundamentally trust democratic control. They tolerate “democracy” as long as they can herd people in the direction they want.

    The article has ” It is a journey that has led him to question whether democracy can survive the new technological age.”

    At the US national level, is there evidence that our democracy has changed character very much to benefit the citizenry from pre-internet (Vietnam, Trade agreements, deregulation, massive military expenditures) to post-internet (Middle East wars, Libya, stirring up Ukraine, African involvement, TPP.)?

    The USA democracy functions at the local level, but at the national level it is another story

    See GIlens-Page at

    ” Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”

    The Gilens-Page study covered the years 1982 to 2002.

    Perhaps the vaunted USA democracy was not that healthy in the pre-internet era.

    1. Doug Hillman

      Good analysis. The elites’ concern about the integrity of our mythical democracy is indeed rich. Supporting your points further are these quotes from purportedly recovering hijackers:

      “Drawing a straight line between addiction to social media and political earthquakes like Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, they contend that digital forces have completely upended the political system and, left unchecked, could even render democracy as we know it obsolete.”

      And this, from ex-Google-jacker James Williams, concerned that attention-jacking “[played] a role, he believes, in the unexpected popularity of leftwing politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, and the frequent outbreaks of internet outrage over issues that ignite fury among progressives.”

      The royal WE is concerned that the veal pen isn’t escape-proof, that progressive brains were tech-addled into voting for Brexit and Corbyn, and into almost upsetting Hillary’s rigged primary win, until Putin finally ensured Trump’s victory by revealing the profoundly corrupt election-rigging of the DNC and with $100k of FaceBorg ads.

      The article itself seemed like a hijacking — in implying that these seemingly clueless former(?) hijackers, concerned for the health of democracy’s cold corpse, actually have a social conscience.

      1. Juliania

        I was agreeing with the smartphone article until it claimed the phone dumbs us down to the point where we credited iies and halftruths spread by Russian agents and others meaning us harm.


        Makes me take a few steps back from crediting the article itself. But hey, I’m typing this on a smart phone…

        Turning it off after I post this – I hafta go patch my leaky roof.

      1. allan

        Cyrus Vance: Why Jail Bankers When You Can Jail Bank Protestors? [OccupyWallStreet]

        [In 2014] Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was found guilty of felony assault of a police officer, and was immediately sent to jail on Rikers Island to await sentencing. The 25-year old grad student was not offered bail. She faces seven years in prison.

        McMillan’s defense team has long argued that McMillan was first assaulted by the arresting officer, and later beaten. …

        “[Officer] Bovell claimed that McMillan elbowed him in the face as he attempted to arrest her, and McMillan and her defense team claim that Bovell grabbed her right breast from behind, causing her to instinctively react.”

        McMillan presented photographic evidence in the trial of a bruise to her right breast from the night of the arrest. The prosecution argued this was self-inflicted. Assistant District Attorney Erin Choi said and that McMillan was lying about Officer Bovell groping her for the sake of publicity. During his testimony, Office Bovell “said multiple times under oath that the wrong eye was injured. Bovell could not answer why he spoke about an injury to his right eye, rather than his left.”

        This is a case that has taken two years of resources. But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. “would not agree to let her plead guilty to a misdemeanor,” instead insisting on a felony even if McMillan plead guilty. …


  18. Plenue

    >How to stop Google tracking your every move

    On PC, start by using a Mozilla based browser (I use Pale Moon) and using NoScript ( to block that little bastard ‘’.

    1. aumua

      As a longtime user of noscript, I can say that unfortunately blocking google-analytics breaks so many sites that I just gave up and allowed it permanently.

      1. hunkerdown

        NoScript is broken like that. I’ve switched to uMatrix, which is a functional superset and easier to control yet more precise, and I don’t need to enable goog analytics anymore on most any site.

      2. Plenue

        I’ve never encountered a site (including Google sites) where blocking analytics broke anything.

  19. schultzzz

    re: “our minds can be hijacked”
    I wanted to like it, since I agree with the main point – but it was short on examples of harm, and long on the intensely boring ‘personal journeys’ of tech dorks, whose new startups and TED talks will apparently solve the problem. If you’re still emitting great clouds of buzzwords, I don’t trust that you’re a ‘good’ tech dork.

    The book ADDICTION BY DESIGN – which I think I learned about here at Naked Capitalism – sounds like a better explanation. Has anyone read it?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before…

      Must be wonderful to still be immersed in the onward and upward worldview of the nineteen hundreds. When I think about life ten years ahead, I see an Underpants Gnome PowerPoint stomping on a human face forever.

      Speaking of which, this is my NewSpeak/GoodThink of the week winner:

      “It is not inherently evil to bring people back to your product,” he says. “It’s capitalism.”

      So good they used it as a pullquote.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I noticed that one too. It was a little disturbing that people like this have a worldview that just assumes capitalism is neutral and innocuous.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Sigh… Smart people design things they later regret. But not so much they fully unplug. Leah Pearlman has “hired a social media manager to monitor her Facebook page so that she doesn’t have to.” That sentence pretty much tells you everything that’s wrong with these people.

    3. Jeff W

      …it was short on examples of harm, and long on the intensely boring ‘personal journeys’ of tech dorks…

      Plus, bad pop psychology masquerading as behavioral science:

      The most seductive design, Harris explains, exploits the same psychological susceptibility that makes gambling so compulsive: variable rewards. When we tap those apps with red icons, we don’t know whether we’ll discover an interesting email, an avalanche of “likes”, or nothing at all. It is the possibility of disappointment that makes it so compulsive.

      It’s not “the possibility of disappointment” that makes gambling or clicking on those red icons so compulsive. Pigeons will gamble in pretty much the same way as humans and it’s doubtful that they’re enthralled at the prospect of “being disappointed.”

      Rather, a high payoff even with a low probability elicits more responses than a low payoff with a 100% probability from both people and pigeons—even though they ultimately end up with less than if they had chosen the low payoff option (and some pigeons, like some people, will opt for the sure thing—they’re just not gamblers). It seems that, when clicking a notification icon, the higher “payoff” rewards, far and few between, sustain pretty robust behavior, as they do in gambling.

  20. Wukchumni

    Everybody talks about organized systemic fraud & contagion risk, but nobody ever does anything about it.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Doing in which direction? I think Dimon and others are putting in yeoman’s work from their end.

  21. Patrick Donnelly

    We eat too much. This means our own body enzymes spend too much time breaking down proteins that will simply be excreted. It is said the body cannot deal with more than 30g of protein at any meal. The enzymes destroy clots, scars and non living proteins, not merely in the digestive tract, which is technically outside the body, but inside the body in the 60,000 mile long vascular and capillary system. Fasting is one way to redress the issue. Taking enzymes is another. I take Serrapeptase. Hospitals give this i.v. to stroke patients.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      not merely in the digestive tract, which is technically outside the body

      Great!! I’ll just drop mine off next time I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy. Will save everyone a lot of fuss.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Butterfly swarm shows up on Denver radar system”
    Painted Ladies. Good news; they aren’t just beautiful, they’re useful. Their larvae feed on thistles, especially Canada Thistle, a really major pest, to say nothing of unfriendly. I’ve seen their larvae on thistles where I was working, and carefully left them in place. They’ll at least keep the (ineradicable, short of chemical warfare) thistles from setting seed.

  23. Patrick Donnelly

    The most potent cancer drug known is Cyanide.

    Taking small amounts is safe. I take apricot kernels and my PSA halved in 3 months. Taking cassava is a bit more risky, but small amounts is the key to all poison based medical cures. The C:N ion robs a cell of oxygen ions and destroys the cell. As cancer cells, by definition, absorb nutirents faster than all but hair cells, this is why it is so effective.

    It is also cheap and no doctor will prescribe it …. I wonder why not?

  24. ex-PFC Chuck

    No doubt some NC denizens have read William Browder’s book Red Notice about his experience founding and running a hedge fund in the early days of post-USSR Russia, or at least familiar with the controversies surrounding the book. You may therefore be interested in a recently published book that debunks much of Browder’s narrative entitled The Killing of William Browder by Alex Krainer, who is also a fund manager across the pond. The author’s debunking is based in large measure on sworn testimony given by Browder at a deposition of a civil case in New York. According to Krainer he went to considerable lengths attempting to avoid being served the subpoena in the matter but was ultimately unsuccessful.

    The bad news is that the book was de-listed at Amazon a few weeks after it became available under legal pressure from Browder, who has been extremely aggressive in trying to suppress any and all counter-narratives. You can read this post at The Saker by Krainer describing the de-listing experience. There is good news also, however. It is that you can, at least for now, read the 200 or so page book online for free at the Internet Archive at this abbreviated URL:

  25. Oregoncharles

    ” my mother eats lots of stuff these folks think is bad and not much they think is good, yet she’s turning 90 and is sharp as a tack.”
    FWIW, my mother eats a typical if moderate American diet, just turned 100, and is also mentally sharp and still getting around quite well. She’s now recovered from two falls at different times; the falls are bad, but the recovery is a good sign.

    Conclusion: nutrition is very, very individual. Pollan’s advice remains the best: “Eat real food, mostly plants, in moderation.” If you can also avoid the majority of chemical pollution, much better. Not possible in big cities, though.

    It isn’t just Alzheimer’s; it’s also autism, which is still increasing. Apparently it wasn’t the vaccinations, though it would be nice to know what that mercury DID do; more likely environmental pollutants, or one in particular.

    1. Wukchumni

      My mom is in her 90’s and sharp as a tack also, and doesn’t really watch what she eats aside from when it goes from fork to mouth.

      She was telling me about the scourge that was Polio, she related that a student would come down with it and they’d close the school for a week, that sort of thing, and nobody knew how it spread really. It was most feared, and it had been around a long time since way back when, but only turned into a monster in the early 20th century.

  26. Meher Baba

    patrick donolly
    great that you mention apricot kernels. but starting out by saying ‘ the answer is cyanide’ does not make your proposal very attractive. Apricot kernels are not quite the same as the deadly poison we think.
    Anyway, yes DO learn about consuming some apricot kernels of the right variety, every day, purchase in bulk fairly cheaply. They are a potent medicine included in indiginous duets known for longevity as studied by Weston A Price

  27. Wukchumni

    Interesting lyrics from the mid 1980’s eh?

    Sounds so current…

    I have legalized robbery, called it belief
    I have run with the money, I have hid like a thief
    Rewritten history with my armies of my crooks
    Invented memories, I did burn all the books
    And I can still hear his laughter and I can still hear his song
    The man’s too big, the man’s too strong

  28. allan

    University of Wisconsin approves protest punishment policy [AP]

    University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments.

    The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote … The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others’ free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others’ free expression three times would be expelled. …

    Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointed all but two of the board’s 18 members. …

    Democratic opponents charge that the policy doesn’t clearly define what type of conduct is considered disruptive.

    “Who’s going to show up to a protest if they think they could be potentially expelled?” Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor, whose district includes the flagship Madison campus, said during a Thursday news conference on the policy. …

    Too bad somebody didn’t show up with his walking shoes back in 2011.

  29. Wukchumni

    I’ve watched a few Ponzi schemes play out, and they all have one thing in common, in that you really don’t have any idea of the mechanism of the swindle until the gig is up…

    One of my favorites was Bruce McNall, who owned the LA Kings, a movie studio and expensive thoroughbreds.

    Late in the game, a major bank you’ve all heard of had lent $20 million or thereabouts on ‘rare stamps’ a few years earlier and didn’t even take the collateral. They got really cold feet and asked a stamp dealer to do an appraisal, and he got up to like $15k, and asked where the rest of it was? And the sheepish bank official told him that’s all there was~

    How does the banking/Wall*Street Ponzi scheme reveal itself?

    1. skippy

      Seems the Rothbardian fake warehouse receipts has more to do with information quality and due diligence, how one squares incentivization and poor controls for such activity is fundamental to this outcome.

      That some focus on the output and not the monkey goo that enables it, is curious to say at the least.

      Disheveled… sometimes I wonder if all those Freedom and Liberty ™ medals suffer from the Neapolitan ribbon thingy…

  30. TroyMcClure

    re: Alzheimers

    In the largest and perhaps most important epidemiological study ever undertaken, T. Colin Campbell showed conclusively what is at the heart of of obesity and the world’s number one killer, heart disease.

    The China Study reveals much, but one important thing is often misunderstood. While high cholesterol is the ONLY necessary risk factor to develop arterial plaques, actual consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol only accounts for about 10% of the problem in regards to heart disease. The primary cause is the consumption of animal protein itself (casein.) The spike in insulin and inflammation that occurs with even small servings of casein set off a cascade of effects in the body that over decades cause atherosclerosis and a host of other maladies. FYI, carnivores cannot develop atherosclerosis unless they have their thyroid removed.

    As for other blood vessels getting clogged, they do! Clogging of the tiny blood vessels that feed our spinal discs has been observed in people as young as 20 and is suspected to be the leading cause of chronic degenerative disc disorder. But most importantly the link between brain arterial blockage and dementia/alzheimers is becoming undeniable. Dr. Michael Gregor goes over the latest research here:

    Yves mentioned how fatty meat is compared to wild game it’s true. Boiled, skinless chicken breast is NINE TIMES fattier than wild game bird. But remember, obesity itself does not cause arterial plaque. Only high cholesterol is the primary cause and all other factors (smoking, genetics, stress) are contributory at best. The editor in chief of the American College of Cardiology Dr. William C. Roberts is unequivocal on this point.

    Overall this is good news! Why? Arterial blockage is reversible as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and the Cleveland Clinic has proven.

    1. Harold

      But what about the “tiny blood vessels that feed our spinal discs” and is suspected to be the leading cause of chronic degenerative disc disorder? Is that reversible, too (asking for a friend)?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not a fan of the obsession with meat as far as cholesterol is concerned. Having said that, I think there are plenty of reasons to keep the amount you eat way down. Red meat is strongly implicated in colon cancer, particularly undercooked red meat. And anything higher in the food chain is going to have higher concentrations of environmental nasties. And meat, particularly since the meat we eat is fatty, is calorically more dense, which means easier to get fat from it than eating veggies.

      First, your body makes cholesterol. Cholesterol is a very important to brain function and tissue repair. And it appears to like making it even more from dietary carbs (the simple ones, like sugars) than dietary cholesterol.

      Second, the evidence that getting blood cholesterol levels down was good for your heart looks dubious for populations other than those with heart disease. This comment came from davidgmills. Note that I am not as keen about Atkins as he is, since it is hard to eat all that much in the way of vegetables on an Atkins diet (as in I regard it as only a weight loss diet, and it is effective because it puts your body in a ketogenic state, meaning it has to go after your body fat to make enough blood sugar for you to function, and your body turns fat into blood sugar inefficiently, so it expedites fat loss).

      I was talking to my brother (PhD in biochemistry as was my father) not too long ago about another PhD in biochemistry, Dr. Ray Peat. Peat did his dissertation on progesterone and had spent 40 years researching it. Progesterone is made from cholesterol and is the precursor of the hormones testosterone, estrogen and hydrocortisone. In other words, four of the body’s six major hormones are derived from cholesterol.

      Peat did some extensive research on the deaths of women, to find out what was the optimal cholesterol level for longevity. His conclusion was the number women needed for longevity was 270 (very high according to the AMA which wants it under 200). Peat found that low cholesterol did in fact decrease a woman’s chances of dying from a heart attack but caused a woman to die sooner from something else.

      My brother couldn’t believe what I was telling him about Peat’s research, but after checking out Peat’s articles and references, he concluded Peat was right. In fact, one of the things my brother found in his research was that LDL is very good at killing bacteria. My brother jokingly commented to me that in lowering one’s LDL that you don’t die of heart disease, you die of MRSA much sooner.

      So both my brother and I who were on statins got off of them. Plus my brother found a new meta study of 62,000 people showing they did no good for those who didn’t have cardiovascular disease, making the decision even easier.

      My dad, who taught medical students biochemstry for 40 years, found very few MD’s that knew enough biochemistry to give him any confidence in their ability to decide whether medications were justified. So I have always been very skeptical of what they recommend.

      As for your Atkins comment, I have been an Atkins dieter for about 18 years. My dad thought Atkins’ ideas made sense from a metabolic point of view which is why I started doing it and still do. Atkins was a cardiologist and he wasn’t nearling as concerned about cholesterol as he was about triglicerides and blood pressure.

      The other thing that is getting attention as a possible marker for heart disease is C reactive protein, which measures inflamation. Progesterone is great at reducing inflamation (remember it is the precursor of hydrocortisone) which is why I take it and I am a man.

  31. JohnM

    Notwithstanding the fact that I raise grass-fed lamb myself, i’d disagree with the statement that saturated fat is ok if it’s from grass fed animals. Saturated fat is ok if it’s from ANY animal. Although you can find a dietary study to support just about any nutritional claim, here are two recent ones that add to the long list of those that raise doubts about the validity of the diet heart hypothesis:

    And as with nearly all these dietary observations, such as the 7th day adventist shunning meat consumption, it’s confounded by the the fact they also discourage sugar consumption.

    There is a whole community of people, myself included, that believe insulin resistance associated with sugar/excess carb consumption is a the elephant in the room when it comes to diseases of western civilization, not saturated fat.

  32. Daryl

    > When Working From Home Doesn’t Work The Atlantic

    Among people I’ve spoken to this move was generally thought of as a layoff-but-not-in-name by getting many employees to quit rather than being motivated by productivity.

    1. Anon

      What type of work you do and the urgency of its completion is an essential element in the workplace arrangement. Certainly the airplane example is unique; the pilot and copilot sit together because they need to see the same instruments simultaneously. The navigator (in a 747) sits behind them and is looking at different instruments (as s/he is not actually flying the airplane). Response time to anomalies (potential emergency) is imperative. Not that many jobs have that kind of urgency.

      In creative/collaborative work environment easy communication is helpful; but not always essential.

      As an aside, my female friends are easy collaborators over the phone. I think IBM is looking to shed salary not improve productivity.

      1. Daryl

        > In creative/collaborative work environment easy communication is helpful; but not always essential.

        I would go so far as to say that easy communication (or rather constant communication) can be harmful to productivity, if your job is one that requires long periods of intense concentration. Of course this is also a problem for remote workers, because of the proliferation of IM tools like Slack.


  33. Wukchumni

    Don’t Be Fooled: The NRA Doesn’t Want to Ban ‘Bump Stocks’ Nation (furzy)
    A week ago I would’ve thought that the term ‘bump stocks’ had something to do with insider trading, not an insider raining bullets down on people.

    That said, i’m curious what direction the NRA goes on this, they’ve never backed down on anything hand cannon related…

    1. skippy

      Maybe the same assumption Gatling et al had….

      disheveled… something glitches when people assume rational thingy….

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